MOOC: 3 things should know about MOOC participants

We know a lot about MOOC. But we never got to know the information on the people who took MOOCs and how they engaged with the courses. In this post, I highlight three key information as revealed by the MIT and Harvard on the first 17 edX MOOCs. This report is the result of the pain taking efforts of MIT and Harvard to analyze about 20 gigabytes of data per course and interviewing faculty and course teams. It throws more light on the students’ engagement with course content and demographic information. We have come to come to know interesting characteristics of those who take MOOC.

Demographic info
The typical course registrants were young men with an average age of 26 or older with a bachelor’s degree forming (31 percent) almost one third of the total MOOC participants. Another 33 percent completed high-school education. A whopping 72 percent of participants was from countries other than the US.

harvardmitcourses reportAttrition rates
While confirming the earlier information on the attrition rates, it provides a new information on the time window attrition rate on its increment and decrement. It was found that almost 50 percent of people leave the course within the first two weeks of the course, and the next two weeks, it declined to 16 percent.

Engagement with content
While only a small percent of people complete the courses, half of them generally view course content without engaging in any online interaction and discussion forums. Interestingly, more than 4000 registrants participated in multiple MOOCs. A small percent of participants deeply engaged, as the courses progressed.

As this report provides us more data on the attrition rates, demographies and students’ engagement with MOOC content, it also enhances the opportunity to delve deeper into the phenomenon of digital revolution in education and more importantly to further research in student learning. Of course, it will also aid in considering design issues for MOOCs in the future.


Image Source: